Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown prepares to deliver his speech on world affairs during the City of London Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall, in central London, Monday Nov. 10, 2008. The Lord Mayor’s Banquet is held in honour of the immediate past Lord Mayor and is the first to be hosted by the new Lord Mayor of the City of London.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the election of Barack Obama by the United States electorate offers a ‘new dawn of hope’
Gordon Brown has called for the election of Barack Obama to be the starting point of a ‘truly global society’ where nations will work together rather than being ‘frozen by events’ such as the current financial crisis.
Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s banquet on Monday Night, the Prime Minister gave a stirring call-to-arms for the U.S. and Europe to work together for the good of the globe.
He said: ‘My message is that we must be: internationalist not protectionist; interventionist not neutral; progressive not reactive; and forward looking not frozen by events. We can seize the moment and in doing so build a truly global society.
‘The alliance between Britain and the U.S. – and more broadly between Europe and the U.S. – can and must provide leadership, not in order to make the rules ourselves, but to lead the global effort to build a stronger and more just international order.’
He urged the rejection of ‘beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that has been a feature in transforming past crises into deep recessions’.
He also hailed the election of Barack Obama as a source of ‘hope and inspiration’ as he urged the United States to join with Europe to build a new global order.
In his annual foreign policy address to the City of London, the Prime Minister called on fellow world leaders to ‘seize the moment’ and lay the foundations for the ‘first truly global society’.
Addressing the Lord Mayor of London’s banquet at the Guildhall, Mr Brown acknowledged that while the challenges facing the world appeared ‘daunting’, they also presented the opportunity to build a better future.
He said the ‘unprecedented’ election of Mr Obama as America’s next president offered the prospect of a new ‘dawn of hope’, both in the US and the wider world.
‘Just days ago, across the Atlantic, our closest ally gave new meaning to its founding creed that all are created equal. Gave new strength to the notion that the American dream is for all Americans,’ he said.
‘Whatever one’s politics, it can surely only be a source of hope and inspiration that a nation which once would have looked at Barack Obama and defined him only by his colour today sees in him the man they want to be their president and commander-in-chief.
‘As America stands at its own dawn of hope – so let that hope be fulfilled through a pact with the wider world to lead and shape the 21st century as the first century of a truly global society.
‘I believe that with the far-sighted leadership we have in Europe, the whole of Europe can and will work closely with the rest of the world to meet the great challenges which will illuminate our convictions and test our resolution.’
Mr Brown, who flies to Washington this week for a financial summit of world leaders hosted by outgoing President George Bush, said it was vital that countries did not retreat into protectionism and isolationism in the face of the global downturn.
‘We have a choice: to retreat or advance; to turn inwards or to look outwards; to be cowed by our fears or led by our hopes,’ he said.
‘I want this to become the moment when we rise to the new challenges by purposeful visionary and international leadership, leaving behind the orthodoxies of yesterday and embracing new ideas to create a better tomorrow, not as the victims of history but as shapers of an open, free trade, flexible globalisation that is also inclusive and sustainable.
‘It is indeed possible to see the threats and challenges we face today as the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order, and our task now nothing less than making the necessarily painful transition through a new internationalism to a more collegial, collaborative and opportunity-rich global society.’
Britain Prime Minister Gordon Brown (2R), his wife Sarah (L), City of London Lord Mayor Alderman Ian Luder (2L) and his wife Lady Mayoress Lin Luder (R) pose for a picture during Lord Mayor’s banquet in central London on November 10, 2008. The banquet is held in honour of the immediate past Lord Mayor and is the first to be hosted by the new Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Ian Luder.
Mr Brown – who earlier signalled that ministers were considering new tax cuts – welcomed plans by Mr Obama and by the governments of China and Germany to inject fresh funds into their economies to keep them going through the downturn.
‘This is no time for the old approach of short-term spending cuts in a downturn that would hurt families and businesses today and damage the long-term productivity of the economy,’ he said.
He said that this weekend’s talks in Washington would begin laying the foundations for a new international financial system to succeed the Bretton Woods agreements of 1944.
Insisting that there was still cause to be optimistic, Mr Brown ended by quoting President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous maxim that ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.
‘When fear overwhelms our perceptions or reality the effect is paralysing; it leaves people frozen into inaction, helpless at a time of great risk and even at a time of great opportunity too,’ the Prime Minister said.
‘But confidence in the future, that most precious asset of all, is the key to bringing back confidence today. It is dynamic, it heralds action.
‘I am confident. Confident that we can seize the moment, grasp it together, and use it to lay the foundations – optimistic, multilateralist and inclusive – on which we can build the first truly global society.’